Section 136 – Police power of arrest

Why am I on Section 136?

Section 136 is an emergency power which allows you to be taken to a place of safety from a public place, if a police officer considers that you are suffering from mental illness and in need of immediate care.

The purpose of removing you to a place of safety is to enable an assessment of your mental health to be made by a doctor and an Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) in order for suitable arrangements to be made for your care and treatment.

A police officer put you on the section.

How long does it last and what happens next?

A place of safety will usually be a NHS hospital or other health setting and only in exceptional circumstances a police station. A Section 136 lasts for a maximum period of 72 hours. You will be assessed as soon as possible.

If the doctor and the approved mental health professional agree that you need to be admitted to hospital under a Section 2 or Section 3, a second doctor will be asked to see you to confirm their decision.

If the mental health professionals decide you do not require to be detained under the MHA they will make arrangements for your care and treatment in the community or you may decide to stay in hospital as an informal patient.

Can I be medicated against my will?

The hospital staff will tell you about any medication they think you need. You have the right to refuse any medication you do not want.

Can I get leave?

No. You cannot be given leave while you are on a Section 136. It is a short term section for assessment.

How can I appeal?

You have no rights of appeal to the Mental Health Tribunal or the Hospital Managers’ against Section 136.

What are my rights?

You have certain rights when you are in hospital. These include the right to:

  • Information about your section and the reasons for detention
  • Information about consent to treatment
  • Information on how to make a complaint
  • Information about safeguarding
  • Information about the Care Quality Commission

The Mental Health Act 1983 Code of Practice

The MHA Code of Practice should be followed by professionals who are involved in your care and treatment. The Code of Practice provides guidance to health professionals about the MHA and is also intended to be helpful to you, your family, carers, representatives, friends, advocate and anyone else who supports you. A copy of the code should be available on the ward for you to see.